|1. New Partner|
|2. Ohio River Boat Song|
|4. You Will Miss Me When I Burn|
|5. The Brute Choir|
|6. I Send My Love To You|
|7. More Brother Rides|
|8. Agnes, Queen Of Sorrow|
|9. Viva Ultra|
|13. West Palm Beach|
|14. No More Workhorse Blues|
|15. I Am A Cinematographer|
It is interesting to see which albums dominate: namely "Palace Brothers" (also known as "Days in the Wake") and "Viva Last Blues" which contribute five and four songs respectively. Suitably enough, given the enterprise at hand, the former of these albums was effectively Oldham's "Pink Moon", almost exclusively featuring only himself on acoustic guitar and voice. By comparison, "Viva" is probably Oldham's most off-putting sounding release which did actually mar soms of the stunning writing.
The paradox is that Oldham's cracked voice and stark sound is an integral part of his attraction and, wonderful though "Greatest Palace Music" is in parts, at times the upbeat reworkings are disfiguring (especially "I Send My Love to You" and "I am a Cinematographer"). In fact the standout tracks are ones which do not deviate greatly from the originals - the gorgeous "Riding" and ominous "the Brute Choir" and "More Brother Rides". In these and other tracks, Oldham's voice is intertwined with a number of purer, frequently female backers to occasionally hypnotic effect.
The instrumental flourishes are, for the main, well chosen - piano, pedal steel, violin feature throughout and "Viva Ultra" pulls off the most difficult trick in the book - a saxophone solo that does not sound awful.... Read more ›
The very idea of an artist's alter-ego recording cover versions of songs done when he was recording as a different incarnation is cool as hell - the only way you could imagine it is if Ziggy Stardust were somehow doing an album of covers of Bowie's eighties big-suits and slick-hair songs like "China Girl"
The lyrics, as ever with Oldham, are full of wit, warmth, imagination and spite in equal measure - "If you have no-one, no-one can hurt you", being sung in a voice that really puts across how badly hurt you must have been to think like that, while still knowing the underlying foolishness of the sentiment.
It is very weird to hear Bonnie Prince Billy with music in the background though - where he's normally sparse, even minimal, in the musical arrangements, here there are pianos, guitars, even a bit of jollity in the music, proper Nashville country stuff. His voice, which I understand he deliberately strains by mistuning his guitar to get that sound of effort and crackedness, is as compelling as ever, he sounds in places quite like Van Morrison.
I don't like Nashville country, I don't like Van Morrison, but I absolutely adore this. If you've never heard any Bonnie Prince Billy, go for Master and Everyone first, but if you bought that and liked it, this is certainly well worth the money.... Read more ›
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